Wednesday Poetry Break


I am 52 years old, and have spent
truly the better part
of my life out-of-doors
but yesterday I heard a new sound above my head
a rustling, ruffling quietness in the spring air

and when I turned my face upward
I saw a flock of blackbirds
rounding a curve I didn’t know was there
and the sound was simply all those wings
just feathers against air, against gravity
and such a beautiful winning
the whole flock taking a long, wide turn
as if of one body and one mind.

How do they do that?

Oh if we lived only in human society
with its cruelty and fear
its apathy and exhaustion
what a puny existence that would be

but instead we live and move and have our being
here, in this curving and soaring world
so that when, every now and then, mercy and tenderness triumph in our lives
and when, even more rarely, we manage to unite and move together
toward a common good,

we can think to ourselves:

ah yes, this is how it’s meant to be.

Julie Cadwallader Staub

From the May 1, 2010, edition of The Writer’s Almanac.



  1. What a lovely poem! I feel that way whenever I am outdoors in natural surroundings. It’s become a real need for me to keep my eye on what is important in life.

  2. Fed who has parted with her goats for long enough that she again thinks of them fondly. says:

    Wonderful poem! Seems to be expressing exactly what I am craving more of in my life! Thanks

  3. Maiugirl, “Ah yes, this is how it’s meant to be.” is something to remember, isn’t it?

    Cootamundra, when I stumbled on this poem, I very lazily thought “I think I went to college with some Cadwalladers” but of course, didn’t look into it. Thanks for prodding me into it — small world, indeed!

    Fed etc., etc., I hope you’re not thinking about restocking the goats again. Cute as they are, they caused you much grief! (They will not bring you more of what’s in this poem!)

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